TJ's Gym Weekly News - 03/21/2018


 August 24th, 2101 025

Tia Mallette, shown here more than five years ago, has been rocking consistency at the gym since August, 2010, despite some serious obstacles along the way. Tia has been around for many of the trends discussed in the message below, and she has always found what works for her. #tbt #badass

Message from TJ: 

A Written History of How We Lost the Weight and How We Gained it Back.

Essentially this is a study of what happened in the wild world of CrossFit and weight loss at TJ's Gym.  First, a little background.

After almost 10 years of being a personal trainer in San Francisco, I decided to open a gym where other independent trainers could work their craft. Allison and I opened our gym in San Rafael and called it the Personal Training Institute of Marin.  It was personal, and it was in Marin, but it was far from an Institute. I don't know what I was thinking and apparently didn't have any good friends in marketing.

We had mirrors on the walls, rows upon rows of machines, and paint in "earth tones" that looked like baby poop.

People came and used the gym and did some PT, trainers paid rent to use the place.  Back then, there was certainly talk of nutrition and weight loss, but there wasn't much accountability.  I had these cute little books that some clients would use to track their nutrition. It was all about LOW FAT. Snackwells and frozen nonfat yogurt were top of the dieter's food chain. The concept of nutrition was easy: eat the most amount of food you can with the fewest number of calories.  Sound familiar?  The only thing different back then was that nobody cared if there was no actual food in the food. Chemicals were saving our lives and making us skinny.

A huge bowl of calorie-free jello and calorie-free Cool Whip?  Winner! I ate zero calories!  Ignore that horn growing out of my head, it's nothing.

Early in 2006 one of my clients mentions CrossFit to me.  I find a website where three years of monthly CrossFit Journal entries were compiled by a fitness madman named Greg Glassman.  I printed out his eleven-page definition of fitness and carried it around with me for months.  I was completely enthralled by this concept of functional fitness using empirical data and devoured all of his videos and writings.  Except the nutrition part.

Soon I was flipping tires in the parking lot, throwing around duct-taped basketballs filled with sand, and doing burpees.  I started having some of my clients performing modified versions of what I was doing, and pretty soon a bunch more people showed up.  And so it began.

By 2007 we were running successful group classes, and Patty Flynn told me I needed to talk to her sister's best friend's boyfriend.  His name was Robb Wolf.  He was a research biochemist who was obsessed with something called Paleo.  Eat like a caveman with vegetables.  I then read a book he recommended called Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.  It said the same thing and backed it up with 1000 pages of legit research studies.

So in 2007 we began preaching to our 100 or so CrossFit members that they needed to eat lean protein and vegetables. And that's it.  Our members at the time were/are smart motivated people who had kids and jobs and needed something for themselves, and CrossFit provided that. They loved being in control of their own health and fitness by doing something that was uncomfortable.  They trusted me and bought into this first iteration of a nutrition plan.  Wow, did it work.  People melted.  They dropped ridiculous amounts of weight in a few short months by eating lean protein and vegetables, and that's it.

So then what happened?  Well, here is the history to the best of my memory.

2007-2008 ish: The concept of "healthy fats" was introduced. You can't just eat lean protein and vegetables. You need fat to improve performance. We were performance whores back then. PR boards lined the room. Max Back Squat, Max Pullups, Fastest Helen times. It gave everyone something to shoot for (side note: PR boards also made people feel like crap, but that's another blog). So all of a sudden, there was a teaspoon of olive oil or two macadamia nuts added to the plate. By the end of 2008 I was eating cashews by the pound before lunch.  It was OK though, because it was healthy, and I was chasing performance. Eye-roll, please.

2008-2009ish: Somehow, some way, the word got out regarding tequila.  The least processed "healthiest" alcohol.  Robb Wolf even invented his own drink called The NorCal Margarita--Tequila on ice with a splash of lime juice and soda water.  It tasted like shit, but booze had been out for a couple years at this point, so it didn't matter. An army of Lawrence of Arabia's came pouring out of the desert dying of thirst, and pretty soon tequila became as popular as knee socks and Inov-8's.  What harm could a splash of agave be?

2010-present:  The Bacon Years.  If cavemen were around at the same time as wild boar, then bacon must be good for you.  "Sides of bacon for all my friends!"  In 2014 I was even sent bacon as a gift to preferred Crossfit affiliates from Reebok.  If bacon is good for the you, then ribeye, chicken skin, and egg yolks must be as well!  Right?

2011-12: Good Carbs. The "research" was showing that athletes who used a post workout meal that contained some sort of high-glycemic carb were performing exercise for time much faster than the losers who weren't. Rice, apple sauce and sweet potatoes appeared on the scene and were consumed like crazy.  Soon you were seeing members dozing off in their cars after class in a carb-fueled, post-workout stupor with remnants of smashed yams on their lips, muttering "I crushed it bro, I crushed it bro, I crushhhhh..zzzzz."

2013-2014: Recovery Powder. Everyone was doing it. It was like coke in the 80's.  You are a liar if you said you didn't. Men, women, kids. 72 year old pre-diabetic, speed-walkers were doing it. Some people got big who didn't want to.  Some people got fat who didn't want to.  You still couldn't pry the Recovery formula from their chalky, calloused hands.

2014-present:  Paleo-Friendly.  Good God. Almond and coconut flour, Stevia, the above-mentioned agave, carob chips, and before you know it, people are coming up to Amy Blackburn in the parking lot scratching their neck and trembling, looking for a "fix" of her Paleo cookies. Breads, pancakes, quiche, lasagna, pizza are suddenly OK, because they have the P word attached to them.

What happened next?  We got fat again. The extrinsic motivators wore off.  You peaked at how fast you could do a workout like Fran or max out your Deadlift.  You had a surgery or another kid or a parent passed away.  Somewhere you lost for yourself the reason you were doing this stuff.

And that's what we want to talk to you about.  We have to dig and find those intrinsic motivators that are inside of you.  You have to crack open the door to that room in your mind that you didn't even know was there, and look around for awhile. That is the new plan, and it should survive all of the other trends that tempt us from here on out. 

We've had fads come and go and have seen all sorts of research. Bottom line for me is that weight loss is a simple formula of eating lean protein and vegetables for three months.  Nothing that I've written about above is bad for you, unless you do it in excess, just like most other things in life.  If you are happy with your weight and body composition, great.  You've probably found a way to eat all sorts of things in moderation and to balance the bad with more good, and move your body a lot.

But if you're not happy with your body composition, you need to look at the facts.  You should be eating the most amount of food with the fewest number of calories that is composed of the best QUALITY, and you will lose weight. But there's often so much more to it than that. You need to explore that room in your mind, and I promise that until you do, you won't be able to keep getting stronger, healthier, fitter, and you won't look how you want to look.

I'd love to talk to you more in person about this.  Blow me up. ~TJ


Order your new TJ’s Gym zip hoodie ASAP!

Pre-order closes March 30th and we won’t have extras. Unisex sizing. Order up if you are unsure.  Just go HERE TO ORDER NOW.

TJ’s Gym Lifestyle & Accountability Program (LAP) is now an ONGOING Offering!

It's now mid-MARCH. TJ can help you salvage those resolutions and actually make changes in 2018. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? (Read More...

Want to change your life? Our 6-week program with TJ is a great jump start.  You can start any time. Over the course of the first six weeks of your journey, you will work closely with TJ to get yourself on track to actually achieving some of your most important goals. After the six weeks, you'll have an opportunity to continue with the next level of the program, or go on your way with the tools and plans you've created.

Email to register TODAY!

Soccer Families! Don't Miss this Awesome Soccer Sale Hosted by our Friends at All Season Soccer! This Saturday, March 24th. CRAZY GOOD DEALS!

Juggling for jude sale.png

You can get crazy deals like $10 brand-name cleats and soccer balls, and all sorts of other steals! This will be at their Novato store on Grant Avenue and will be part of a sale involving a couple of other fun local shops. Bonus: they will be selling raffle tickets to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital via Juggling for Jude, so TJ and Hollis will be on hand from 10-11am for the festivities and soccer juggling for a cause!

TJ's Gym + Whole Foods Instagram Contest

Don't forget to show us in photos what makes our TJ's community so great! We’ve partnered up with @wholefoodsmarin to reward your commitment to fitness and community, and our ten favorite photos will each win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card!

The rules are simple:

*Hashtag any fitness-related photo with #TJsGymLifestyle and follow both @tjsgyms and @wholefoodsmarin.

*Photos must be taken during the month of March and hashtagged by 3/31.

*Each individual can enter up to 10 photos. *Contestants agree to allow @tjsgyms and @wholefoodsmarin to repost entry photos with credit on their Instagram channels.

Winners will be announced the week of April 2nd. To be eligible, contestants must be active members of TJ's Gym and follow both @tjsgyms and @wholefoodsmarin at the time of posting and winner selection.

This contest is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. 

It's Never too Late to Get that teen/tween in your life moving! 

Our Winter Session started on Monday, March 5th.

Find out more about our ongoing Teen/Tween program...

Email to register for the session. 


If you're on Facebook, please request to join the TJ's Gym Members Facebook Page (current, active members) for all of our most up-to-date announcements and offerings. You can also follow us @tjsgyms on Instagram.